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What Is The Song In John Wick: Chapter 4's Official Trailer?

After a long, pandemic-hindered wait, "John Wick: Chapter 4" is very nearly here. Picking up where "John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum" left off, Keanu Reeves' iconic modern action hero must survive his most dire circumstances yet.

In a new trailer released today, John is offered absolution for his perceived crimes against the Continental and a way out of the criminal underworld — he must defeat Marquis de Garmont, played by Pennywise and "Barbarian" actor, Bill Skarsgård. This act will seemingly restore Winston's (Ian McShane) power at the High Table and resolve the interior conflict set up in the previous film.

Though "Chapter 4" will see John attempt to fight his way back into the light, it already holds overt tones of mortality, sacrifice, and death. As characters talk about "good deaths" and getting "married" or "buried," John's fate seems like it will be decided before the final credits roll. This grim tone is especially amplified by the trailer's excellent use of its reflective choice of song.

The song is Seasons in the Sun by Westlife

The song is "Seasons in the Sun," performed by the '90s pop group Westlife. The composition, writing, and coverage of this track is rather complicated and dates back to the 1960s, but it was made famous in the '70s by singer Terry Jacks. An editor at Genius claims Jacks was compelled to cover the song after his friend passed away.

The overall mood of "Seasons in the Sun" is quite somber and reflective, yet the ethereal vocals of Westlife give it a detached sense of finality or peace. Taken at face value, the lyrics depict a man's blunt but heartfelt goodbye to the people that loved him throughout the "seasons" of his life.

The "John Wick: Chapter 4" trailer is very careful about which lyrics it uses to underscore the story, splicing brief segments from several points throughout the piece. Because of this thoughtfulness and specificity, we can actually use the lyrics to glean even more details about the story and tone of the film. 

Farewell to friends, fathers, and family

The song begins in earnest several seconds into the trailer, with its opening line: "Goodbye to you my trusted friend." This is likely meant to evoke a sense of loss, negative change, isolation, and coming resolution, as well as a nod to the fact that John will likely be beginning this film friendless. "John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum" saw the legendary assassin burn almost every connection he had; he is truly on his own.

"We've known each other since we were nine and 10" underscores new adversary Caine (Donnie Yen) as he examines a locket holding a picture of a young girl. It's also likely that Caine is someone from John's past. Next, the trailer uses the lyric, "Please pray for me" as John strides through a church. Notably, it omits the first two words of the lyric — "Goodbye, Papa." Winston describes himself as John's family in the trailer and is the closest thing to a father figure that John has.

The following apology, "I was the black sheep of the family," could point toward how much trouble John has made for Winston's criminal underworld in his personal quest for justice. More interestingly, however, is how it underscores the introduction of Natalia Tena's Katia — who bears a wolf tattoo on her right shoulder, just as John does. As the song's protagonist makes peace with those from the seasons of his life, it appears as though John will be doing so as well. He clearly doesn't have much time left.

It's hard to die, indeed

"Goodbye my friend, it's hard to die" comes next, as Laurence Fishburne's Bowery King alludes to John's coming death. Throughout the trailer it's obvious that John's time is running out, with an echo of "It's hard to die" ringing behind scenes of violence. There is also a line heard dictating that if John fails to appear for his upcoming duel, he will be executed. This specific clarification — in a trailer, no less — is quite intriguing. It would be rather poignant and poetic if John was ultimately killed for refusing to fight.

"We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun" underscores the trailer's flashiest action sequences, and echoes Winston's hilariously blasé final words to John: "Just have fun out there." This is also likely meant to reassure the audience that, though heavy, the film will still retain the buoyant, sharp, continuous action that fans expect.

Once more, as the logo comes into view, the song echoes "It's hard to die." Though the lyrics, vocals, key, and major musical elements are taken directly from the track, either the "John Wick" composer or the trailer house has embellished the music with aesthetically appropriate, pulse-pounding instrumentations. The last lyric is boosted by a triumphant, almost choral-like wall of sound in a major key — "It's hard to die" isn't just an admittance of death here, but a smirking reminder that John is very hard to kill. If there's one thing the trailer wants you to take away here, it's that John Wick isn't going down without a fight.

"John Wick: Chapter 4" is in theaters March 24, 2023.